By Daniel Quin,
The relationship between problems at school and the mental health of students is a complex one. Sometimes students have poor mental health and school problems follow. In other cases, low attendance, academic failure and disruptive behaviours can lead to poor mental health.
I’m one of the child and adolescent psychologists at Psychology Melbourne who work to untangle this complicated cycle.
One thing that is often forgotten in this cycle is the role of teachers.
My research has demonstrated that positive teacher-student relationships can improve psychological engagement, academic grades and attendance. They can significantly reduce disruptive behaviours.
While it is sometimes tempting to place all of the responsibility on teachers to develop teacher-student relationships, psychologists, parents/carers, and the student can provide invaluable support..
With permission, psychologists can help inform teachers of learning or mental health difficulties. Parents/carers can play a similar role.
Additionally, when parents listen to a child recounting their problems or frustrations they can encourage a positive teacher-student relationship.
In counselling, a psychologist can provide a child or adolescent with helpful insights into the issues and provide strategies for improving the teacher-student relationship.
Daniel Quin recently submitted his PhD for examination. An example of his research in this area is: Teacher-student relationships and engagement